When I was in high school, YM, Teen and the like (not Jane--they were explaining DIY glitter polish) were exploding with how-tos directing you to apply barely-there makeup looks. Hints of taupe! A whisper of berry!
The au naturale trend in makeup has been through the circuit about a dozen times since I’ve started using makeup. It’s basic, and can help you look like a hotter, younger, better version of yourself. Do it right, and you’ll look like you just woke up/had sex/climbed a mountain. You can spend about 15 minutes applying makeup to look like you didn’t spend 15 minutes applying makeup! Genius.
But you can’t deny it: "natural"-looking makeup at its most utilitarian means using colour to change the way our faces look, to fool people into thinking we have long lashes, healthy, flushed cheeks (from all the exercise, obviously) and glossy pink lips.
And that’s why we think we need makeup: to fix what’s wrong with our faces, to match the current beauty ideal upheld by society. Use it "wrong" and people will lose it--think Bjork, Lady Gaga or Ke$ha. The public reaction to makeup not used to further one’s adherence to beauty standards is deemed appalling; they are called stupid, ugly and crazy. Would the media repeatedly question Lady Gaga’s sanity if she looked completely normal for awards shows?
It’s sad. Creativity with your personal style is OK as long as you don’t get too carried away.
Beauty and makeup trends all come with their own sets of rules: blondes should stick to pastels, brunettes and darker skin tones should avoid cool colours, stop wearing shimmer after 30 ("age-appropriate" rules induce RAGE). Most makeup "rules" leave you with some old brown eyeshadow that is so inoffensive, you might as well just skip it.
Everyone needs to chill out. One of the best things about makeup is that it’s not permanent, it’s not resulting in a life-or-death situation. It can drastically change your look, and if you don’t like it, just wipe it off. (Too bad the same isn’t true for bad tattoos or moving to harsh and unfamiliar cities.)
So forget everything you’ve been told. There are no rules. Beauty is subjective. In the ‘90s, everyone wanted pants to make their ass look smaller (the very idea). In the '70s, big, wide expanses of forehead were hot. Eyebrows, lip lines, cheekbones come and go, and move all over the place. Follow trends, by all means--just don’t think they aren’t for you because you have the "wrong face."
Last spring, we saw a lot of bold colours paired with otherwise naked faces. I love it because it’s basic AND packs a punch. With spring just around the corner (sorry for the weather, Lower 48) bright colours and monochromatic looks are starting to heat up off the runway.
"Don’t wear blue eye makeup."
YES, people still harp on this. The idea is that the blue will bring out the teen mall queen in you, or bring out under-eye circles, which I suppose it could, but if you’re concerned at all, you could take time to cover under-eye circles with a yellow-based concealer.
To do blue justice, stick with something simple: an electric blue liner, or an indigo smoky eye are both on-trend, and will make just about any colour of eye pop. Teals flatter pretty much every eye colour, and purple tones will bring out any green in your eyes.
"Avoid orange and peach-toned lipstick."
Because they will make your teeth look yellow, and then your life will pretty much start tumbling downhill from there. You’ll lose your job, your home, you’ll be turned onto the street, pickpocketing, selling newspapers--all because your teeth might be perceived as slightly yellow.
The orange-red trend hasn’t cooled off since last fall, and with good reason: It flatters just about every skin tone and eye colour out there. It contrasts with blue eyes, and compliments darker eyes, and with the tamer eye-makeup looks popular this spring, a vibrant orange lip can be as easy to pull off as red.
The yellow-teeth issue can be easily solved by using bright, matte colours, and avoiding shimmery finishes. Go for colours a few shades darker than your natural lip colour, instead of creamy pastel formulas.
"Don’t wear light-coloured eyeliner."
It’ll make your eyes look small. No--correction--it’ll make your eyes look WEIRD.
But that can be a good thing. A bizarre alternative to the traditional cat eye (dare I say BASIC cat eye?) is a white cat eye. Even better: an electric green or yellow one.
The issue here is that it makes the whites of your eyes (the sclera) look darker in comparison. Do you really think people will assume you are diseased, with enough wherewithal to put on sick eyeliner but not seek medical attention?
White and light eyeliner is hard to find; stick to either cream or liquid formulas, as every pencil I’ve tried has been utterly useless in getting a bold line. I use Ben Nye’s MagiColor Liquid paints to get a good white, but they come in a variety of bold shades.
If you don’t want to invest in a jar of theater makeup, you can try it with a good, wet white shadow.
"Always wear mascara with eye makeup."
Beauty bloggers and designers alike started abandoning the Kardashian-style encrusted tarantula lashes months ago. The black-black liner, layers of mascara and eyeshadow really started to take over the world there for a minute.
While it’s a cute look, and extremely fun to apply, it’s gotten a bit out of hand. Too much mascara can have the opposite effect of opening your eye, and instead make you look like Any Female on Reality TV Ever.
"Avoid putting red near or around your eyes."
Because you’ll look like you’re crying or sick.
If I’m sick, and my eyelids turn red, please, get me medical attention.
Red is an interesting colour to play with near the eye, especially for nighttime looks. It has the effect of making hazel and blue eyes glow, and the contrast makes any green stand out. I love a good dark pink smoky eye, berry eye gloss, or red-orange liner are all fantastic ways to use red that won’t make you look sick.
I love to take a shimmery red shadow, and mix it with a dab of Vaseline to make a sheer eye gloss. Hell-o ‘90s grunge.
"Don't do weird-coloured lips."
Christine pretty much nailed it. I’m constantly surprised at the sad selection of lip colour at drug stores, mostly ranging within natural. I know blue, teal, green, yellow or purple lips look weird. And I think I like it. Orange and purple have been trending big, but why not sky blue?
It’s important to get a good coverage formula, especially if you have really pigmented lips (like moi) to avoid looking the streaky.
I know there are more. Along with Alle’s article urging more creativity in beauty trends, I hope 2014 is a big year for more interesting trends than "be more tan." I’d love to hear about how YOU are splashing out of your comfort zone.